The Second-Hand Bookshop

She pushed open the heavy door to the bookshop.

She had missed her train. It was an hour until the next train, so she had decided to have a bit of a wander around the small town to kill time.

The meeting with the society hadn’t gone well, and missing the train added to her frustration.

She had walked a little way up the road when the heavens opened – she wrestled her umbrella out of her handbag and looked for somewhere to shelter. The second-hand bookshop was just over the road and looked like a good place to wait out the rain.

The wind had blown a bit of fresh air in to the shop, but it did nothing to mask the musty, damp smell. It was a comforting smell, though; the promise of history and secrets laid within.

An elderly Labrador laid in the middle of the main aisle. On hearing the bell tinkle as the door opened, he looked up and thumped his tail against the wooden floor in greeting. The old floorboards creaked as she walked in and stooped to fuss the dog.

The shop was dimly-lit, and not seeing or hearing anyone the woman wondered whether anyone was minding it. She then spotted a man in a dark alcove at the back of the shop seemingly engrossed in reading. Dust danced in the light cast by an anglepoise lamp.

The woman thought the grunt she received in response to her greeting was a bit strange, but put it down to him being an old eccentric.

Stepping back over the dog, she started to browse the shelves. Good use had been made of every inch of space. Bookshelves had been crammed in, with little room to manoeuvre between them.

Most of the books looked old – fabric covered hardbacks with the title and author in gold lettering, or hardbacks with dog-eared dust jackets. With so many books to choose from, it was difficult for the woman to know where to start.

She picked out a few volumes at random. They were all decades old. Some of the books were by authors she had never heard of, and others were about things she had little interest in. They were returned to the shelves and she continued browsing for a few more minutes.

Looking up, a book caught her eye. She felt drawn to it, but could not think why. It was just out of reach, but reaching up on tip toes and stretching her arm and fingers as far as she could, she was able to grab it.

It was bound in dark leather that had started to crack with age. The author and title had been embossed on the spine, but age had worn away the colour and they were difficult to read.

Opening the fragile book cautiously – the yellowed and brittle pages had started to come away from the spine – she found the title page.

A chill ran down her spine. Tears pricked her eyes. Feelings of excitement and sorrow rolled in to one.

Flicking carefully through the pages, and reading a few passages, she suddenly knew.

Her head spinning, she took the book over to the back of the shop where the man was sitting. She didn’t understand why, or how much the book cost, but she knew she had to have it.

The man put down the book he had been studying and looked up at the woman. He smiled.

“At last,” he said. “We have been waiting for you for a long time.”

__________________________________________________

Based on the prompt word ‘Books’

mumturnedmom

 

 

Prose for Thought

28 Comments on The Second-Hand Bookshop

  1. Victoria Welton
    October 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm (6 years ago)

    Leigh, that is brilliant. I love it when a piece of fiction leaves you asking questions and wanting more. This did exactly that. Thank you for linking to Prose for Thought 🙂 x

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 18, 2014 at 10:27 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you – I’m pleased you enjoyed it too! xxx

      Reply
  2. Yvette @ BigTrouble
    October 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm (6 years ago)

    Loved this! Another who wants to know more – make it a mini-series please 😉 You write really well. #Prose4T

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 10, 2014 at 10:59 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you! I’m pleased you enjoyed it xxx

      Reply
  3. maddy@writingbubble
    October 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm (6 years ago)

    This builds up atmosphere very well and left me wanting more! I’m glad to read in the comments that you’re going to write more. X #prose4t

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm (6 years ago)

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed it too! Thanks for commenting xxx

      Reply
  4. deskmonkeymummy
    October 7, 2014 at 8:11 pm (6 years ago)

    Ah, is there more? I want more! It sounds like the start of something longer, as if the book is going to lead her on an epic adventure. X

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 8, 2014 at 10:29 am (6 years ago)

      I think the consensus is I will have to write more! I’m pleased people have enjoyed it, thanks for taking the time to read and comment xxx

      Reply
  5. dadbloguk
    October 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm (6 years ago)

    You have to do a follow. I want to know what happens next. Lots of suspense in this. Great short story #ThePrompt

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you, I’m pleased you enjoyed it. I think the consensus is to write more of the story…I’ll have to do that! Xxx

      Reply
  6. Sara (@mumturnedmom)
    October 3, 2014 at 7:26 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh, I HAVE to know what the book was called! This is fabulous, literally had me on the edge of my seat! Please write more 🙂 Thanks so much for linking to #ThePrompt x

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 3, 2014 at 8:19 pm (6 years ago)

      I’m so pleased you liked it! Thank you for the prompt xxx

      Reply
  7. mydaysni
    October 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm (6 years ago)

    Yes, write more… there is a whole novel there somewhere and I want to read it! #ThePrompt

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm (6 years ago)

      Excellent – the customer is always right – I shall have to get writing! Thank you for your kind words xxx

      Reply
  8. mummyshambles
    October 3, 2014 at 10:28 am (6 years ago)

    Blimey!
    More of this please! Talented lady. X

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you, I’m pleased you liked it. I’m considering writing more because of the positive response! xxx

      Reply
  9. mylifeasamummytest
    October 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm (6 years ago)

    Please keep going!! Really want to read more!!!
    Thank you for linking up with the #WeekendBlogHop

    Laura x x x

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 2, 2014 at 8:09 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you! So pleased you enjoyed it xxx

      Reply
  10. babylossmama
    October 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm (6 years ago)

    Agree – now I really want to know more! Keep going! 🙂

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you – I’m pleased you enjoyed it! xxx

      Reply
  11. pleromama
    October 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh, this was beautiful. I would love to read more.

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you! I will have to write more! xxx

      Reply
  12. Goldie
    October 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm (6 years ago)

    Ooo. I love this. More please 🙂 x

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you! I might write more if people like it! xxx

      Reply
  13. meghanoc
    October 2, 2014 at 11:55 am (6 years ago)

    Lovely. Gripping. I want to know the title of the book!

    Reply
    • Leigh Kendall
      October 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm (6 years ago)

      I’m pleased you liked it! Haven’t done any creative writing for years! xx

      Reply

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on The Second-Hand Bookshop

  1. […] The events of this story happen directly after The Second Hand Bookshop. […]

  2. […] A World Gone Up in Smoke, and The Letter from the War that Shattered the Peace; and the short story The Second-Hand Bookshop. These have helped demonstrate my diversity as a […]

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